Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Dyeing

What a long overdue post!  I was lucky enough to participate in two fabric dyeing retreats this month.  The first was with members of the Fiberexplorations group. It was hosted by Nancy at her beautiful ridgetop property in Gates, OR (a.k.a.Gateway to the Cascades), where we had a huge studio to play in.
Teresa, me, Nancy, Kathleen, and Lisa
Though we'd planned to do a variety of dyeing methods, everyone enjoyed ice-dyeing so much that we pretty much stuck with that.
These colorful kids' sand buckets and matching-sized
colanders from the dollar store worked best!
We strung two lengths of clothesline to hang our dyed fabrics on, which made a colorful statement against the backdrop of the darker woods.

Lisa stamped this fabric with Dawn dishwashing detergent,
which acted as a light resist when dyed.

Teresa's stunning results,  even as a first-time dyer!
After dinner on our first night, we took a walking tour of neighboring Mill City and watched the Santiam River pass under the town's bridge.  We had some other adventures that probably shouldn't be reported here.  It involved fire trucks (but no fire).
Mill City bridge
The happy dyers:  Kathleen, Lisa, Nancy, me, Teresa
 Thanks for hosting us, Nancy!  We can't wait to do it again next summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Projects from May

Happy Memorial Day Weekend -- the unofficial start of summer!  This month, I've set up a challenge for myself to create smaller quilts (about 8x10" or 9x12") using only what's in my basket of fabric scraps and leftover pieces from previous projects.  Here's what I have so far:

"Purple House," 8x10"
 Yes, purple and green again (with a splash of orange).  Needs more work:
"Expectation" 8x10" (in-progress)
 Continuing with orange . . .
Untitled (& unfinished), will be about 10x12"
 Lots of orange scraps to use up, so why not?
"Hot!" (possible quilt background)
Something different . . . inspired by Jackie Cardy, who makes the most beautiful brooches in yummy colors you can't get unless, like her, you dye your own  silk velvet.  Someday I'll try that!  Below, the two pieces in the center are on black felt, while the two on the sides are on my handmade silk paper.
Stitching on velvet
Another project finished this month was the Barbados Bag (pattern by Pink Sand Beach).
 "Barbados Bag"
Today's venture:  I pulled out my ancient jars of Setacolor paint (still good!) and sun-printed some fabric.  The first two were slightly scrunched (the lighter areas were inside the folds and not exposed to the sun).  Leaves and flowers were placed on the 3rd piece and sun-printed.
Sunprints using Setacolor paints
The remaining two projects are journal quilts I made in February.  After making them, I decided I didn't want to commit to this as a monthly project.  The current challenge for the Fiberexplorations group is very loosely defined:  to create any type of artist's book for the purpose of exploring whatever technique(s) or subject(s) you choose.  A book of journal quilts (about 9x12") isn't what I want to do, though I'm not sure what is, except that I want something small enough to fit comfortably in one hand.

February Journal Quilt, 9x12"
"Leap Day" Journal Quilt, 9x12"
With the warmer weather, I'm excited to continue learning about and experimenting with natural dyes and eco-dyeing.  Next time, I'll include photos of the lichen dye I'm making, which has to steep for a few months before using.  I really want to try dyeing with eucalyptus leaves, but we don't have them here in Oregon.  Maybe I could trade a bag of staghorn lichen with someone in California who has eucalyptus leaves.  Know of anyone?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

This design stuff is hard!

There's obviously a huge gap of time where no posts have been made to this blog.  It's not that there's no new work to show from the group or me personally . . . I guess we'll call it what it is:  laziness!

For the past few evenings, I've been trying to work out a new design that looked fine in my sketchbook and my mind, but it's a struggle to work it out with pieces of fabric on the design board.

Here are a few iterations I've played with so far, and right off the bat you'll notice that I failed to compensate for the needed mirror-image effect when I cut out my gray-pieced triangles.  Here, I've just flipped them and used the wrong side while auditioning layouts:

Starting point.
 It had none of the wonkiness I had in mind!  Unpinned it all and started playing around:
What if I added some skinny inserts?

Another idea . . .
And another . . .
After rotating it 90 degrees counter-clockwise:
I like the movement from the upper gray-pieced triangle (with curves) as it seems to take an abrupt right-angle turn south (via the horizontal gray section in the middle).  But who knows what will happen now?  It could evolve into something or get scrapped and added to my box of Orphan Pieced Units for a fantastic future project. 
For now, the weather has stabilized and it's warmed up to be a beautiful spring day -- too nice to stay inside!